Levittown district officials confirmed on Aug. 3 that legendary girls' varsity soccer coach, Lauren Gotta, will not be returning to the sidelines for the 2012-13 season.
Gotta, widely regarded as Long Island's top girls' soccer coach under the age of 35, etched herself into the Levittown sports history books by leading the MacArthur Lady Generals to a New York State championship in Nov. of 2011, the first state title in school history.
Gotta Leads MacArthur To A New York State Championship
The state title came just one year after the Lady Generals were upset by Oceanside in a triple overtime classic that ended in controversial fashion, and Gotta was one of the main reasons why the team kept its focus on the task at hand in 2011-12.
Gotta said MacArthur was "on a mission" on numerous occasions last school year, and the New York State title capped off the mission with an exclamation point. She was also named Newsday's 2011 Nassau County Coach of the Year.
Stepping into the head coaching position for the Lady Generals will be Kerry Schaefer, a social studies teacher at MacArthur who served as assistant coach of the team last season. Schaefer is a natural leader who is adored by the team, so the transition should be smooth.
As for Gotta, who welcomed her second baby girl into the world this July, she's expected to take the helm of the junior varsity North Shore Lady Vikings girls' soccer team for the 2012-13 season.
Tough Week For Levittown Soccer
Losing Gotta was the second tough blow this week suffered by the Levittown soccer community, as Island Trees boys' varsity soccer coach, Graham Radcliffe, announced his resignation after two decades at the helm of the Bulldogs. Radcliffe left to pursue an assistant coaching position with the Hofstra Pride men's soccer team.
Island Trees' boys team is still in the process of finding a new head coach, but MacArthur's girls squad luckily has a master tactician at the helm in Schaefer. Under Schaefer's watch, the Lady Generals finished 18-2 last season, with six playoff victories en route to a New York State title.
How will the Lady Generals bounce back?
MacArthur graduated All-New York State forward Jill Mulholland, an elite Hofstra-bound striker who earned New York Class AA co-player of the year honors, along with nine other top talents from the school's Class of 2012, but Schaefer has plenty of young returning prospects.
All-New York State defender Kelly Kempf, All-Conference standout Amanda Cantos and Geneseo-bound defender Sam Sherman, each graduated in June. However, Schaefer has freshman phenom Arianna Montefusco, junior Kelly McQuail, UMass-bound senior goalkeeper Jena Cozza, and Newsday's All-Long Island selection Jenny Scro, returning to action.
"The leg is feeling good," Scro said in an interview in April after suffering an ACL tear during basketball season. "I got the brace off, so all I have to do now is five months of physical therapy. I'll definitely be back by next soccer season."
With Scro expected back at full-strength and Schaefer taking the helm, MacArthur is still a strong favorite to return to the playoffs and defend its state title.
Eric Holden has been covering Long Island high school sports since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
Personal Source, Jenny Scro
Personal Source, Lauren Gotta